OPINION PIECE By Prime Minister: A vote for Jodie Belyea is a vote for a better future
AFIC boycotts NSW Iftar dinner, says it will donate funds for its own dinner to UNRWA instead
Julia Finn MP will donate to charities to support the people of Gaza
Families of Leppington to benefit as locations of 100 new public preschools revealed
The biggest investment in public preschools in NSW history.
Former Lord Mayor Paul Barber passing
PM Albanese hosts Philippines President, announces new MoU between countries
Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh submits government's resignation
Brian Edmund Brown fronts court after allegedly punching and killing security guard Mousa Al-Zaher
Reprisals are not Policy
OPINION PIECE By: Prime Minister Anthony Albanese MP
Minns Labor government neglects multicultural media
From Australia News in Brief

Global cholera cases could double over the next 20 years, warns WHO
The war of words between parties is heating up ahead of the state election…
US approves $1.3 billion sale of Tomahawk missiles to Australia under AUKUS pact
$1 Billion to support Farm Innovation, resilience and sustainability
NSW Premier Perrottet says no to talk of plans to privatise Sydney Water
$6 million to help farmers lower livestock emissions
Rail procurement policies cost state governments $1.85 billion: report
Women and youth drive NSW jobs market
ACOSS calls for rise in JobSeeker payment in next Australian Budget
NSW Labor leader coy on whether scrapping wage cap will mean more money for public service
More support for families to manage their budgets
Electricity prices set to surge up to 30 per cent as regulators reveal draft pricing plans
No, New South Wales Labor's phone ban won't allow kids to be 'tracked'
Royal Hospital for Women’s newborn and birthing units to be expanded
$120 Million to build best of the best for regional schoolkids

Global cholera cases could double over the next 20 years, warns WHO
(See translation in Arabic section)
Sydney - Middle East Times Int’l: The World Health Organisation says the current global cholera crisis is a pandemic that is putting over one billion people at risk. 
Climate change, conflict, financial crises and human displacement have combined to spark large-scale outbreaks in countries previously free of the highly contagious disease, WHO said. 
The surge in cases comes as the Global Task Force for Cholera Control (GTFCC) warns the worst may be yet still to come; its own studies show that population growth and rapid, unplanned urbanisation could lead to a doubling of cholera cases over 20 years. 
Cyclone Freddy is currently causing catastrophic flooding in Malawi and Mozambique – which have serious cholera outbreaks - creating an acute risk of worsening the disease’s spread.
The alert comes ahead of two vital meetings about the disease in New York - the GTFCC annual meeting on Water Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH), and the first UN Nations Water Conference since 1977. 
The World Health Organisation (WHO)’s cholera lead Dr Philippe Barboza, said: “Prevention is key. Nearly half of the world lacks access to safely managed sanitation. Access to safe drinking water and sanitation are internationally recognised human rights. Making these rights a reality will also end cholera.”
Experiencing its worst-ever outbreak of cholera, according to WHO, is Malawi; As of March 13, Malawi’s confirmed cases stood at 53,464 with 1643 deaths – a fatality rate of 3.07%. In Mozambique, there were 8532 cases with 54 deaths. 
In Malawi three quarters of people do not have a decent toilet and around 30% do not have even a basic supply of clean water close to home, in Mozambique the figures are 63% and one third respectively.
Some areas escaped those higher numbers partly due to spending on better water, sanitation and hygiene facilities.
Gambling, housing, cost of living: where the major parties sit on the big  issues of the NSW election | NSW election 2023 | The Guardian
The war of words between parties is heating up ahead of the state election…
New South Wales Premier Dominic Perrottet has echoed remarks from his federal Liberal counterpart that Anthony Albanese is "out of touch" with everyday Australians.
The Liberal leader was in Penrith, in Sydney's west, making a $25 million pledge to upgrade boat ramps, fishing facilities and a commitment to open more waterways in the state when he was asked about his thoughts one week from the election.
"I'm feeling very positive because I know it’s the Liberals and the Nationals with that long-term economic plan to keep our state moving," he said on Saturday.
"I know its my team that’s able to deal with the challenges of today, put downward pressure on household budgets."
Mr Perrottet quickly turned his attention to Prime Minister Anthony Albanese who made what he described as "out of touch" remarks about one of his election promises.
A journalist on Friday posed to the Labor leader if he supported the Kids Future Fund initiative, which helps set up an account for children to allow parents and grandparents to contribute money that can be withdrawn for education and housing once they turn 18.
The state government said the program will cost $850 million over four years and expects about 947,000 children under the age of 10 to sign up in the first year of the project, which will continue to grow by at least 100,000 from 2024.
"It sounds like more or less a Labor policy. Do you back that idea?" the reporter asked.
"No, I don't. It's certainly not a progressive idea. The biggest beneficiaries would be those people with parents, like I am, who are able to make a contribution. It just reinforces inequality rather than addresses what is needed," Mr Albanese said.
"Labor policy would be giving support to the most disadvantaged and the most vulnerable. The fact is that those parents don't have a lazy thousand dollars to put into an account to benefit way down the track."
The NSW Premier did not hold back with his assessment of Mr Albanese's comments, describing them as "absolutely wrong".
"And that is the Labor way. There is no greater investment that we can make than in our children’s future," Mr Perrottet said at Penrith Lakes.
"And what we see from NSW Labor during this election campaign is no ideas, no plan to deal with the short-term challenges that families face in our state and no long-term plan.
"So, for the Prime Minister to come out yesterday and say he’s against setting up future funded houses for our children shows how out of touch he is."
Mr Perrottet's comments come after Opposition Leader Peter Dutton made similar remarks on Erin Molan's Sky News Australia show.
Mr Albanese on Friday attempted to highlight the absence of his Liberal counterpart, saying "Peter Dutton wasn't even at the campaign launch of Dominic Perrottet".
"Do you think anyone is sitting around their kitchen table tonight… talking about who is sitting in the audience at the Liberal campaign launch? People couldn’t give a toss about any of that. They are worried about their own situation,” Mr Dutton said on Erin.
US approves $1.3 billion sale of Tomahawk missiles to Australia - ABC News
The US has approved the sale of Tomahawk missiles to Australia so its navy can be equipped with weaponry used by the US and UK.(Supplied: US Department of Defense)
US approves $1.3 billion sale of Tomahawk missiles to Australia under AUKUS pact
australia could buy as many as 220 tomahawk missiles and supporting equipment from the united states as part of the deal struck under the aukus pact.
the united states has approved the sale of up to $us895 million ($1.3 billion) worth of the guided weapons, which initially would be fitted to the navy's hobart-class destroyers, and could later be installed in the viriginia-class submarines when australia acquires them next decade.
"the strategic location of this political and economic power contributes significantly to ensuring peace and economic stability in the region," the us state department said in a statement.
"it is vital to the us national interest to assist our ally in developing and maintaining a strong and ready self-defense capability."
speaking to the abc, defence industry minister pat conroy said the missiles would be a deterrent to adversaries.
"we face the greatest strategic uncertainty since 1945. we face a regional arms race and a responsible government such as ours is dealing with that by investing in the best possible capability," mr conroy said.
"this is how we promote peace and stability, by putting question marks in any potential adversary's mind."
tomahawk land attack missiles are long-range guided missiles primarily used by the us and the british royal navy. they are a type of cruise missile.
the us state department said the sale would improve australia's ability to "interoperate" with us and british forces, as well as its ability to "contribute to missions of mutual interest".
"Australia will use the enhanced capability as a deterrent to regional threats and to strengthen its homeland defense," it said.
the missiles will primarily be provided by us weapons manufacturer raytheon.
Australia has relied on agricultural innovation to farm our dry land. We'll  need more for the uncertain years ahead
$1 Billion to support Farm Innovation, resilience and sustainability
**Vision available to download here**
A re-elected Liberal and Nationals Government will double the amount farmers can access under a $1 billion expansion of the successful Farm Innovation Fund.
Deputy Premier and Minister for Regional NSW Paul Toole said farmers will now be able to borrow up to $2 million to identify and address risks to their businesses, improve on-farm infrastructure and ensure long-term productivity and sustainable land use.
“For almost a decade, the Farm Innovation Fund has given farmers access to long-term, low-interest loans of up to $1 million to finance projects that contribute to productivity and resilience – now we are doubling that,” said Mr Toole. 
“To date, more than $840 million in loans under the Farm Innovation Fund, Seafood Innovation Fund and Drought Assistance Fund have been approved, assisting more than 8,600 NSW farmers to help launch crucial innovation and infrastructure projects.”
“Not only are we planning to increase the maximum loan amount from $1 million to $2 million, we also want to expand the program so the loan can be accessed for the adoption of new technologies, the usage of automation and robotics to address labour shortages and carbon farming infrastructure.” 
Minister for Agriculture Dugald Saunders said farm productivity will always be a priority for the NSW Liberal and Nationals Government. 
“The Farm Innovation Fund is evolving to keep up with changing economic and environmental challenges and to keep up with the level of innovation we are seeing in agriculture,” Mr Saunders said. 
“The fund will no longer be limited to on farm infrastructure but rather the imagination of farmers who want to future proof their land, their operations and their businesses.
Dominic Perrottet | Daily Telegraph
NSW Premier Perrottet says no to talk of plans to privatise Sydney Water
NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet has hit back against Labor claims that he plans to sell Sydney Water, labelling it “a scare campaign”.
The NSW Premier said privatising the state-owned corporation had “never been something that has been considered by our government, or ever would be” and said the state government’s pipeline of projects is fully funded.
He said the decision to sell WestConnex, which the Coalition promised it would not privatise in the lead up to the 2019 state election, was “the right decision in the circumstances” and said the first half of the road had already been sold.
The Premier defended privatisation as a “good thing when it’s necessary”.
“It was the right decision to sell down (WestConnex) that asset, to reinvest in the future construction of the road,” he said.
The Premier said he had “completely ruled out” privatising Sydney Water.
“I don’t know anyone in the history of our government that has ever spoken about (selling) Sydney Water,” he said.
But the Opposition claimed the process of privatising Sydney Water had already begun.
“Now it’s out in the open; when Dominic Perrottet says he has ‘no plans’ to sell Sydney Water, it’s because he thinks he can change his plans at the drop of a hat,” NSW opposition treasury spokesman Daniel Mookhey said.
Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said that as an NSW resident he didn’t want to live under a government which privatised assets.
 $6m to reduce livestock methane - New England Times
$6 million to help farmers lower livestock emissions
In a joint press release issued today says that the Albanese Government is funding three research projects to help Australian farmers reduce methane emissions from livestock. 
The innovative projects will receive between $1 million and $3 million each under Stage 3 Round 1 of the government’s $29 million Methane Emissions Reduction in Livestock (MERiL) program.
The funding will enable them to conduct trials on the effectiveness of technologies to deliver  methane-reducing feed supplements to grazing livestock – from feeding supplements to pregnant cows to cut the methane production of their offspring to using automated in-paddock feeders. 
Research has shown that some feed supplements can reduce methane emissions from livestock by more than 80 percent under ideal conditions. 
Minister for Climate Change and Energy Chris Bowen said support for technologies to lower emissions in livestock was crucial to achieving Australia’s emissions reduction targets. 
“Overcoming barriers to uptake new technologies in our grazing systems will deliver significant abatement in the livestock industry,” Minister Bowen said. 
Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry Murray Watt said the government was strongly committed to helping Australia’s agriculture sector to reduce emissions, build value and remain internationally competitive.
“We are backing new technologies to help farmers tackle the emissions challenge and respond to increasing global interest in sustainable agricultural production,” Minister Watt said.
The 3 new MERiL grants are:
$2,932,438 for Graincorp to undertake large-scale dairy and beef livestock grazing trials to demonstrate the use of the seaweed Asparagopsis as a low-emission feed supplement, in partnership with FutureFeed, the University of Queensland and Agriculture Victoria Services.
$1,075,601 for University of Adelaide to investigate feeding seaweed supplements to pregnant cows and its long-term effect on methane production in their progeny, in partnership with CH4 South Australia; Australian Sustainable Seaweed Alliance; Mackillop Farm Management Group; Barossa Improved Grazing Group; SA Livestock Consultants; the Department of Primary Industries and Regions, South Australia; Regional Development Australia Barossa Gawler Light Adelaide Plains; Charles Sturt University; and Agripartner Consulting.
$1,954,690 for University of New England to evaluate 2 automated feeders for methane-reducing supplements – Asparagopsis, Bovaer and Agolin – to sheep, in partnership with the Department of Primary Industries and Regions, South Australia; the University of Western Australia; Feedworks; and Australian Wool Innovation.
A second funding round under Stage 3 will be launched in early 2024.
NSW trains report reveals $1 billion-plus cost blowout
Rail procurement policies cost state governments $1.85 billion: report
The Australasian Railway Association (ARA) is calling for a national approach to rollingstock procurement to avoid unnecessary duplication.
The ARA call was in response to a new report that found governments had missed out on $1.85 billion in cost savings over the last decade due to inefficient local content policies.
ARA chairman Danny Broad said state-based policies made operating in different states akin to operating in different countries.
This led to the duplication of facilities and inconsistency between states, and made it too hard for some organisations to bid for key contracts.
“It is unfortunate to see cost savings on such a huge scale being left on the table at a time when demands on government budgets have never been higher,” Mr Broad said.
“State-based policies make it harder for industry to gain scale, drive innovation and adopt greater efficiency and productivity across their operations.”
The report identified foregone procurement cost savings from the last decade such as: $717 million in savings from increased scale; $811m in savings from reduced complexity in planning and design, and $318m in savings from major components harmonisation.
Assistant Minister for Manufacturing and Trade Tim Ayres welcomed the report’s findings.
“By working together to build and maintain modern passenger trains, Australia can reduce procurement costs while boosting manufacturing capability and creating high-skilled jobs in regional and outer suburban Australia.”
States and territories use different procurement policies to buy rail assets such as rollingstock, including state-based local content requirements.
The report found that while this approach supported local jobs in the short term, it undermines the long-term sustainability of the rollingstock manufacturing industry.
The rail manufacturing and supply sector generates $2.4 billion in revenue per year and supports more than 4000 jobs, many of which are in regional areas.
Women and youth drive NSW jobs market - Liberal Party NSW
Women and youth drive NSW jobs market
New South Wales has maintained the lowest unemployment rate among the states for the sixth consecutive month, according to today’s ABS labour force data.
The figures show employment in NSW grew by 15,900 in February after losing 7,000 jobs in January, while the participation rate grew to 66.3 per cent.
The NSW unemployment rate is 3.2 per cent, the lowest of all the states.
Treasurer Matt Kean said the figures showed employment in NSW is now at 242,300 above pre-Covid levels.
“The figures also show a record number of women employed in the state and a record low youth unemployment rate,” Mr Kean said.
“This is what good economic management delivers. Only a Liberal and Nationals Government has a long term economic plan to keep NSW moving forward.”
Since federal Labor came to power there have been nine consecutive rate rises and inflation has risen to 7.4 per cent.
Consumer sentiment has fallen 19.2 per cent in NSW over the last year, and fallen 22.1 per cent in Australia. Meanwhile, retail sales have fallen 2.0 per cent since November, down 2.2 per cent nationally. 
Mr Kean said NSW cannot risk a Labor Minns Government which would stall the economy and send the state backwards.
BUDGET: ACOSS demands tax system shake-up | news.com.au — Australia's  leading news site
ACOSS calls for rise in JobSeeker payment in next Australian Budget
The Budget must urgently address the cost of living crisis by raising JobSeeker to at least $76 a day,  improve the energy efficiency of low-income homes and invest in social housing.
That was the summary of a wide-ranging Federal Budget submission from the Australian Council Of Social Service (ACSS).
In its submission, ACOSS said: The Albanese Government in its first Federal Budget has to relieve financial stress and tackle inflation directly, raise revenue to fund essential services long-term and raise the base rate of working-age income support payments including JobSeeker.
ACOSS welcomed the government’s modest superannuation changes but said more had to be done including cancelling the $18 billion-a-year Stage Three tax cuts, abolish the private health insurance rebate and fossil fuel subsidies, restrict investment property tax breaks and reduce Capital Gains Tax concessions.
It should introduce a 15 per cent levy on post-retirement super earnings, a sugary drinks tax, an offshore gas royalty and broaden the base of the Medicare Levy to ensure people contribute according to their capacity to pay.
ACOSS chief executive officer Cassandra Goldie said the government must start making bold decisions to responsibly tackle our biggest challenges.
“With more than three million people in poverty in Australia, this Budget must deliver cost of living relief for those who need it most and help shape a more inclusive society,” Dr Goldie said.
“… right now people on income support are skipping meals, foregoing essential medicines and turning off their hot water just to keep a roof over their head,” Dr Goldie said.
NSW battle over public sector wages | Sky News Australia
NSW Labor leader coy on whether scrapping wage cap will mean more money for public service
NSW Labor leader Chris Minns has stopped short of saying whether his promise to scrap the public sector wage cap would amount to a pay rise for workers. 
With 10 days until the state election, Mr Minns was today quizzed on the upshot of scrapping the 3 per cent wage cap during Channel Nine's leaders debate.
During campaigning, the Opposition Leader has argued removing the cap was vital to retaining essential workers in NSW, and, stopping a brain drain to other states that don't have wage caps. 
But today, he couldn't confirm its removal would translate into wage increases for public servants. 
"We need to do that around the table and that needs to be a negotiation that can only happen in government," Mr Minns said. 
"The reason we need to do it is 2,500 constables have left the police force in the last four years, 6,500 nurses have quit in the last 12 months and there's 3,000 teacher vacancies in New South Wales schools." 
Pressed again on whether workers could expect an increase above 3 per cent under a Labor government, Mr Minns still didn't give a straight answer. 
"If we sit down and we've got strict economic principles in place then we are happy to negotiate in relation to that but it will be with budget savings and productivity gains, like the rest of the country does." 
Premier Dominic Perrottet said this sounded a lot like the Coalition's policy. 
"...we have a responsible wages cap in place of 3 per cent and if public servants find savings above that, then they are able to get an additional pay rise." 
Abolishing the wage cap is one of Labor's key offerings they hope will appeal to voters struggling to make ends meet in the current economic climate of rising inflation and interest rates. 
The latest data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics shows there were more than 520,000 public sector employees in NSW in 2022.
Last year, thousands of teachers, nurses and transport workers across the state took industrial action for months in a row over "unsustainable" pay and workloads. 
After much pressure to lift the 2.5 per cent wage cap, the NSW government agreed to give all public sector workers a 3 per cent increase in 2022-23 and 2023-2024.
It also raised a potential extra 0.5 per cent in 2023-24 for employees that make a substantial contribution to productivity. 
The government put forward a deal to the rail union of a 2.5 per cent increase for 2022 and 3 per cent for 2023 but last week the Fair Work Commission said this represented a "significant decline" in real wages. 
The commission ruled all rail workers must receive an additional 1 per cent backdated to May 1, 2022, and another 1 per cent from May this year.
Family budget & money management tips | Raising Children Network
More support for families to manage their budgets
More families across NSW will be able to get support to help manage their finances, achieve their savings goals and reduce pressures on their household budgets, thanks to the Liberal and Nationals Government. 
Under the plan, an additional $10 million will be provided to non-for-profit organisations as part of the Financial Counselling Services Program, to provide more financial counselling to families across the state.
Premier Dominic Perrottet said this funding boost would double the capacity of the program so more people can get access to the financial guidance they need. 
 “We recognise there are significant pressure on household budgets right now and families are feeling the pinch from higher inflation and interest rate rises,” Mr Perrottet said.
“There are many families across NSW who are doing it tough. We will ensure more financial counselling is available to those who are experiencing financial stress and hardship.  
“This funding boost will mean organisations can take on an extra 100 financial counsellors, allowing thousands of extra families to get the helping hand they need. 
 “These financial counsellors will be able to provide free and confidential advice on a wide range of financial matters including budget planning, dispute resolution or assistance with accessing government rebates. 
“This is about ensuring that families across NSW facing financial stress or hardship can get the support they need to find a pathway forward.
Electricity prices set to rise by up to 30 per cent in some states, energy  regulator says | SBS News
Electricity prices set to surge up to 30 per cent as regulators reveal draft pricing plans
The Australian Energy Regulator (AER) has revealed draft electricity price increases of between 20 and 22 per cent over the coming financial year, while Victorian consumers can expect a 30 per cent price surge.
However, the AER's chair, Clare Savage, said the default market offer for electricity would likely have risen between 40 to 50 per cent without government intervention to cap prices in the domestic gas and coal markets late last year. 
"Since [the government] started talking about interventions in October last year, the prices seem to have stabilised in the last couple of months," she told RN Breakfast.
"So that's not to say they couldn't fall further. But I don't have a crystal ball. If we saw major plant outages or reliability concerns, they could also rise.
"So we just need to keep collecting that information until we make the decision in May."
The regulator will announce a final pricing determination in May that will take effect on July 1.
More than a million customers directly affected
The AER's decision will directly affect around 600,000 customers in South Australia, New South Wales and South-East Queensland who are on the default offer, which is effectively a price cap for household and small business customers.
Specifically, customers in South-East Queensland can expect to see price rises of up to 20 per cent, South Australians up to 22 per cent, and New South Wales residents should brace for increases between 21-22 per cent, and up to 23.7 per cent for some on controlled load tariffs.
Small business customers can expect price rises of between 14.7 and 25.4 per cent, depending on their region.
Victoria's Essential Services Commission (ESC) has released its default offer, with an even larger 30 per cent increase in household electricity prices and 31 per cent for small businesses.
The ESC said a typical household bill would rise from $1,403 to $1,829 per year, while small businesses could expect an increase from $5,620 to about $7,358.
Price rises could have been worse: government
Climate Change and Energy Minister Chris Bowen said that consumers would be paying even more if not for the caps on gas and coal prices imposed by the Albanese government.
"Today's draft increases are up to 29 percentage points lower than the AER projected in late 2022, more than halving the increase that was expected before the government acted on skyrocketing coal and gas prices," he noted in a press release.
"This means hundreds of dollars — between $268 and $530 — of additional increase avoided for households, and up to $1,243 additional increase avoided for small business customers."
Space to play or pause, M to mute, left and right arrows to seek, up and down arrows for volume.
Deputy Liberal leader Sussan Ley said the increase in energy prices from the regulator was proof the government's intervention into the coal and gas market had failed Australians.
No, New South Wales Labor's school phone ban won't allow kids to be 'tracked'  - ABC News
No, New South Wales Labor's phone ban won't allow kids to be 'tracked'
Less than two weeks out from the NSW state election, the Coalition has accused Labor of proposing to roll out mobile "jamming" technology that would allow school students to be "tracked".
The opposition has pledged to ban students from using mobile phones in all government high schools, in a move that would broaden an existing ban in primary schools and bring NSW into line with most other states.
But after Labor flagged this week that it would consider using phone-jamming technology — a version of which is currently used to stop illegal phone use in two NSW prisons — Education Minister Sarah Mitchell warned that the proposal, floated by tech company Educell, posed serious dangers.
"We're talking about students. They are pupils, they are not prisoners. And the fact that what Labor want to do is bring technology from [a super-maximum security prison] into your child's school, I think is incredibly concerning," she said in a televised interview.
"[T]here's no consideration of the data. Having a third party literally be able to track your child and where they are, is incredibly concerning."
This, however, misrepresents how the technology works.
According to Educell's website, its system prevents phones from connecting to their regular phone network, meaning students would be unable to make or receive calls or connect to the internet while at school. (They would still be able to connect to the school network, if permitted, meaning exemptions are possible.)
Educell director Andrew Mednick told CheckMate that it was "absolutely not" possible to track a student's location or collect data from their phone using his company's technology.
"The hardware doesn't have the capability, nor is it a requirement of the system to perform its core function," he said, adding that it would not install anything on students' phones and was "considered a 'dumb device' in the telco industry".
As Mr Mednick described it, the system operates by placing a small box the size of a Wi-Fi router in each room where the school wants to limit mobile usage. These would then be programmed to turn on and off at specified times.
"It's calibrated for a specific room," he said. "If you were in a classroom it was in, and walked out into a hallway where we haven't installed it, your phone would regain its network connection."
Mark Gregory, an associate professor with RMIT University and a communications technology expert, told CheckMate that a mobile phone jammer was "a blocking device … that typically transmits on the same frequencies used by mobile phones, thereby preventing a connection with mobile phone towers".
Data on phone usage "cannot be intercepted" with jamming technology, he said, noting that while military-grade jammers could make it possible to track a phone's location by targeting mobile network towers rather than phones, these were "more sophisticated" than those being proposed for NSW schools.
"We're talking about a very significantly different level of device", he said, adding that these more basic devices "just blow out frequencies in any direction".
"It's putting out signals right across the spectrum that will be picked up by the phone, and that's wiping out the phone's ability to talk to anything."
In a written statement, the Australian Communications and Media Authority said certain technologies designed to interfere with or block phone signals were classified as "banned equipment" under the Radiocommunications Act, and that it had "not licensed or otherwise authorised the use of devices intended to block mobile phones in schools".
It noted that Educell had approached ACMA with its proposal but had not yet applied for an exemption.
Royal Hospital for Women | South Eastern Sydney Local Health District
Royal Hospital for Women’s newborn and birthing units to be expanded 
A major infrastructure overhaul for The Royal Hospital for Women (RHW) at Randwick will bring expanded and contemporary care for women and newborns under a re-elected Liberal and National Government.
Premier Dominic Perrottet said the $95 million commitment recognised the increased demands on RHW, which is a state and national leader in the provision of health services to women, newborns and families.
“More than 1,000 babies each year are admitted to the Newborn Care Centre (NCC) with approximately 600 being premature and requiring surgery,” Mr Perrottet said.
“Nearly a third of these tiny babies come from outer metropolitan, regional and rural areas, many spending months in the care of the wonderful staff at the RHW.
“This major investment will significantly upgrade treatment spaces and improve the experience for families, meaning more comfortable sleeping areas, improved privacy and larger spaces to reduce parental stress during this very difficult time.”
The NSW Liberal and Nationals Government is investing a record $11.9 billion to upgrade hospitals and health facilities across NSW over four years to 2025-26.
In addition, a further $1.2 billion is being committed to health infrastructure, which is only possible because of the Liberal and Nationals long-term economic plan to keep NSW moving forward.  
Health Minister Brad Hazzard said the upgrade to treatment spaces in the Newborn Care Centre will improve the experience for families, with more space and capacity – meaning fewer babies would need to be transferred to Neonatal Intensive Care Units at other hospitals.
“We want to ensure mums and bubs receive the very best care and that all children get the best start in life possible,” Mr Hazzard said.
$120 million worth of school upgrades progresses | Daily Telegraph
$120 Million to build best of the best for regional schoolkids
A re-elected Liberal and Nationals Government will invest $120 million to build specialist learning facilities at regional schools and set students in the bush on the path to excellence.
From innovation and STEM labs to modern metal and woodwork facilities to world-class fitness spaces, regional schools would be invited to apply for funding to ensure students continue to get the best of the best in public school education.   
Deputy Premier and Minister for Regional NSW Paul Toole said the Regional Schools Excellence Fund recognises the importance of offering students in regional NSW a variety of high-quality education facilities and opportunities.  
“We want every kid to have the opportunities to strive for excellence, no matter where they live or what their talents and interests might be. Access to modern, specialist facilities is a great way to support them on that journey,” Mr Toole said.
“The NSW Liberal and Nationals Government’s long-term economic plan has allowed us to invest in regional education – from new and upgraded schools to digital classrooms and better, faster internet and strategies to attract and retain great teachers for the bush.  
“With this new fund, we’ll build on our vision to ensure access to better schools with the best teachers isn’t defined by where you call home.”  
Minister for Education and Early Learning Sarah Mitchell said the new fund is part of the Liberal and Nationals’ effort to make sure young people living in the bush are afforded the same – if not better – opportunities than those living in the city.   
“Living in Gunnedah and with children at our local public school, I know that we have fantastic schools in the bush. This fund will ensure our regional schools continue to offer the best possible learning spaces and facilities, matching the aspiration that regional families have for their children,” Ms Mitchell said.  


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